August 11, 2017

Shop Redesign: Lumber Rack

It has been several months since my last post, and I feel pretty bad about not providing any updates, much less videos, in the last few months.  Life, and then weather, unfortunately happened.

As some of you may have seen, my new video went up today!
While there's not much going on in the video, it represents the first major step in my shop redesign!

I work in an uninsulated one-car garage here in the Phoenix valley, and as the summers keep getting hotter, it's more important than ever for me to find ways to maximize my efficiency, as my available working time gets shorter.  The layout I had previously was crowded, and required a lot of moving things around in order to change work functions.  I just don't have time for that!  I've been looking through articles, blog posts, videos, and more just to try to garner some ideas of how to work effectively within the confines of my shop.

About a year ago, I stumbled across this article from Fine Woodworking about the Smart Shop in a One-Car Garage.  It's an older post, but it happens that this just about perfectly matches the dimensions of my work space.  There are some changes that I needed to make, as I don't have the resources to drop new electrical lines into the garage, nor do I have an open ceiling allowing for overhead lumber storage.

Also around this time, Wood Magazine was finishing up their Idea Shop 6 series.  Between these two resources, I was able to piece together a good plan of attack for my place!

I've started by replacing my old lumber rack.  This beast was fantastic, but really took up all the best real-estate on that wall.
The Behemoth!

By moving to this new design, I've freed up a lot of floor and wall space.
Loaded up!

Wall detail
It's not really clear, but I now have about five feet of usable wall space below the new racks.  The downside is that I don't have dedicated storage for sheet goods in the shop any more.  However, I happen to have an amazing wife who allowed me to move the old rack into our two-car garage (that we actually use to park the cars in!).  This lets me store sheet goods, and lumber for upcoming projects that still needs to reach equilibrium.  Ideally, I will have material for active and next project on the rack in the shop, and material for the next two to three projects in the garage.  We'll see if I can stick to that!

That's about all for this post.  The next major project is going to be a table system for my radial arm saw.  With luck, that'll be done in a couple of weeks!

November 13, 2016

Bandsaw Project: Business Card Holder

We had first table at craft show this past weekend in downtown Mesa, AZ.  We knew that we needed several things for the table, among them a business card holder.  Rather than buy one (or two), we (being crafty such as we are) decided to make them instead.

This was a very simple project using the ShopSmith bandsaw, but it was a lot of fun, as Samantha (Crafty) was actually out in the shop with me, even though power tools were running.  I had a lot fun showing her some the basics of the bandsaw, and even got her to give it try!  Fun fact, she enjoyed it!  So, there might be more bandsaw projects in the future made by her!

Not much of a write up necessary for this video, as it's all pretty simple, but below is the video of the process we used for making these fun, rustic business card holders. 

Since I had everything set up, and we had a nice piece of wood to work from, I also cut some wooden disks to use as price tags for the table.

Could double as a small coaster

The price is puzzling...

How much is this puzzle?!
The show itself turned out to be pretty successful, so there will be several new projects with videos soon.  This first outing was mostly jewelry, soaps, and lotions, with some fiber crafts, but I think some wood articles will do well.  I'll find out next month!

October 28, 2016

The Thin (Not) Red Line: Sharpening

It's been a while since my last post, and for that I do apologize to those of you who have been stopping by to see if there's anything new.  Thank you, though, for continuing to check in!

Life has been incredibly weird the last several weeks, and while I've been getting some shop time, I have not been able to sit down and do all the after-shop work. 

I'm enjoying the video format, as it is just so much easier to show what I'm doing rather than trying to take some pictures before/after a cut, and then write about it.  That being said, this video ended up being fairly long, coming in at just about 30 minutes.  That might be too long, but I'm trying to be thorough.  It's a balancing act. 

I've been pondering the idea of doing 2 or 3 of my old style posts for every video post.  Let me know what you think down in the comments!

Over the last few weeks, I've been grinding a lot of metal with sandpaper glued to a granite counter top.  It has been extremely tedious, but ultimately, incredibly rewarding!

As you know, woodworkers are usually solitary, but we definitely don't exist in a vacuum.  Particularly not without the vast amount of information freely available to us though on-line and print resources.  Part of my anti-vacuum-ness (That's a word now), entails reading and watching the products of Paul Sellers and Marc Spagnuolo, aka The Wood Whisperer.  Specifically, I've been reading Essential Woodworking Handtools (Sellers) as well as Hybrid Woodworking (Spagnuolo).  These are amazing books, and I highly recommend either/both of them to anyone interested in getting into woodworking.  Both of them also produce incredibly high quality videos that really bring their written works into a whole new light.  Being thusly inspired, I set about preparing my recently acquired chisels and hand planes.

Make no mistake, this was actually some pretty sweat-heavy work. 

...And today was relatively cool!
The single-iron No. 4 Stanley plane that I received from my mother-in-law, needed a LOT of work.  The blade was in pretty decent shape, needing only a small amount of flattening and honing of the bevel.  The sole, on the other hand, was torture.  It was dished badly along its entire length and breadth, and required about 12 total hours of flattening on 60 and 80 grit sandpaper.  All in all, I removed right about 3/32" in order to get in good working order.  While it's a cheap plane, I have to say I was very pleased with the results.  Tuning it is a bit finicky, as the twin screw set works more like a spokeshave than a bench plane, but once it's there, it makes incredibly impressive shavings. 

The vintage planes that I picked up in Prescott, AZ were in overall pretty decent shape.  The plane irons and cap irons had a lot of surface rust, but not much in the way of pitting.  The irons were also mostly flat, so didn't need much rehabilitative work.  The bodies had some surface rust and needed some general cleaning and oiling.  The soles were decent and flattened pretty quickly.  I think altogether I had them cleaned up and ready within about 4 hours total.  Maybe 6.

I had 4 chisels to sharpen (though I only filmed 3), and those went quickly.  Much more quickly in the video!

I was a bit uncertain about my ability to sharpen freehand, and my confidence was undermined further by attempting it with the un-filmed chisel which is some strange beast that I picked up a few years ago at the Big Orange Store.  I think it's some kind of carpentry chisel from Stanley, but it has a cutting edge at the front (like a normal chisel) and also one side.  This leads to a particularly odd angle on the front bevel, which I just could not wrap my head around.  Thinking that the others might present difficulties as well, I went ahead and picked up a cheap honing guide.  It worked very well, but I have since discovered that freehand sharpening is not difficult if you're not working on something weird.

Now that everything is shaped and sharpened, I'll be switching over to a 3-grit and strop set-up.  I'm pretty sure I've got some scrap leather laying around somewhere, and I have plenty of extra plywood!  Just need some polishing compound, and I'll be all set.  I do have a set of diamond plates on the wish-list, but for the time being, sandpaper will do just fine.

That wraps up my initial adventures in sharpening, and now that I've gotten everything in decent shape, it won't take nearly as much effort to keep it that way.  I also shouldn't have to initialize and/or restore so many items all at once!

As always, I'm really open to feedback.  If there's something you'd like to see, or something you think I could improve, please let me know down in the comments.  Thanks for reading!!

September 25, 2016

Part 4: Learn All The Things!!! Flat Miters and Tapers

I spent the holiday weekend traveling around AZ with my wife, which necessarily removes me from the shop and my computer.  We had an amazing time seeing some of the high country and small towns in northern Arizona, and it was a necessary breath of fresh air from the city that recharged us both.  I foresee many more trips to the Prescott/Jerome/Sedona area in the near future.  I continued on Lesson 2, completing Assignments 8,9, and 10, but ran into some difficulty with my video editing software, and was unable to properly export.  I've since switched to KDENlive, but had to learn how to use that.

A short planter, with some math problems

Wait...I did this already!

Consider this a mitered rip cut.
Assignment 9 was the creation of a tapering jig.  It's slightly different than the one I made a few weeks ago, and frankly, I didn't find it to be as usable, so I skipped this Assignment in favor of the jig I had already completed.  Hooray for over-achievement!

Assignment 8 continues the concepts of Assignment 7, in that it's still basic mitered cross cuts in flat stock; however, this builds on that concept by taking the cut pieces and making a short, tapered planter instead of a frame.  Sort of a 3D application, which is important when considering design elements.  There was another bit of math oddity in this assignment, though, which had me scratching my head for a few minutes, wondering if I was crazy.  In the picture above, the dimensions for the mitered pieces are shown as 8" tall and 8.75" wide; however, following the directions starts with creating 4 8"x8" squares which then have two sides cut on an 85 degree angle.  Since you can't cut wood longer, I concluded this was a typo, but it threw me off for a minute since I'm apparently a little slow sometimes.

Assignment 10 demonstrates a similar concept. Rather than a mitered cross cut, however, it is a mitered rip cut.  This is more conventionally called a taper.  There are many different jigs you can make for cutting tapers, Jay Bates made a really neat one.  It is the second one on this list of table saw jigs. There's another interesting one by Garage Woodworks.  Mine is much more simplistic, but it works well enough.

This video demonstrates the process for both the mitered cross cuts, as well as the tapered rip cuts.

When cutting tapers on opposite sides of a piece of lumber, it's important to remember to double the angle of the jig when cutting the second side.  This is because the board references against what is essentially a modified fence.  When you make your first cut, there's no problem, but if you flip the board over, you're now referencing the cut side against the angle that created it.  This cancels out the angle, so no material will be removed.

This assignment called for four 16" long pieces cut with a 1/2" per 12" taper.  On the taper jig, I have squared reference lines across the top edge of the jig at 12" from the hinge end.  By setting those points 1/2" from each other, I established the correct angle.  I set the fence so that upper left corner of each board just came into contact with the blade when seated in the jig.  After all 4 boards were cut, I doubled the angle on the jig to 1" per 12", then cut the opposing side.

After all the cuts for the the flat miter and tapers were made, I glued and nailed the pieces together making a short and a tall tapered planter (without a bottom at this time).

Short sections ready for glue and nails

Gluing up the tall planter

Stretch and Stumpy!

 Missed what's come before?  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 are here!

August 27, 2016

Part 3: Learn All The Things!!! Angular Cuts

The last assignment of Lesson 1 is miter cuts, Part 1 and Part 2 of this series cover the other assignments.  That is, making angular cross cuts across the stock at any desired angle.  As an introduction to this technique, the most common angle of 45-degrees is presented.  Cuts are made to produce a kind of frame.

Each side has two 45-degree miter cuts, which assemble into a rectangular form

In the following video, I run through the process with a couple of different approaches.

Glancing ahead a bit in the lessons, I see that these pieces will be used in future assignments, so I will not be gluing them up at this time.

August 21, 2016

Part 2: Learn All The Things!!! Tongue and Groove Joint

In my last post, I posted my first shop video.  And while it takes a while to edit video footage and put together a project, I am much more likely to get useful imagery to post here.  Therefore, I will be making more video content, even if it takes me just a bit longer to get a post up here.  While I strive to make weekly updates (mostly on Saturdays), I would rather have well documented content that most clearly demonstrates what I am doing.

This week, I continued in Lesson 1 of the self-study course.  Previously, I did assignments 1 - 5.  Assignment 6 instructs in the creation of a tongue and groove joint.

As described, this assignment called for stock 3/4" thick.  Unfortunately, all that I had to hand that was of sufficient dimensions otherwise was 1" thick.  This turned out to be extra educational, as I was forced to also learn how to adapt measurements to achieve the desired result.

I ended up sawing off the tongues and grooves, and repeated this assignment about 6 times (once per side), until the stock was too narrow to safely saw on edge.

Reviewing the video helped me identify some of the trouble I was having (another reason I like video!).  I was using a zero-clearance insert, which you can see sits just a bit below the surface of the main table.  I was measuring blade height to the table surface, and not the insert surface, which for the face cuts on the tongues didn't matter, but for all the cuts with the board on edge, it made a variance in the depth of the cut.

The table may have also been just slightly out of square in relation to the blade, which combined with the raw lumber led to distinct problems in getting good fitting joints.  Guess I need to buy some pre-surfaced boards until I learn about that!

Part 3 now available!

August 6, 2016

Shop Tour!

The big news for today is that we have termites.  We saw some mud tubes yesterday, and the inspector came out today and confirmed subterranean termites.  This took a large portion of the day, and by the time he left, it was way too hot and humid to start anything in the shop.  I will try again tomorrow.

What I was able to do today was a quick shop tour video!!

This is the first video that I've ever made that wasn't just a quick capture on my phone.  I actually used video editing software, Openshot!  I'm not displeased with the result, particularly since I kludged it out at coffee.  While never having used the software before.

Nothing else for now, but if I make it out tomorrow, I will have a supplemental post for the week.